smooth criminals

Smooth criminals? 15 alleged Philly burglars, robbers and dealers who can’t seem to get the crime thing right

We all have our talents. For some people who try to commit crimes, doing the actual deeds just isn’t one of the special things they’re good at. Here in Philly, there’s no shortage of pretty dumb criminals, whether it’s the guy who recently looked directly into a security camera while carrying out a home invasion or the Upper Darby woman who basically alerted cops to her husband’s pot-growing operation.

We’ve pulled together some of the worst (best?) silly/stupid crimes as of late. We know there’s no shortage of dumb criminals, so let us know which ones we missed so we can laugh/maybe add them here. And it should go without saying that we’re laughing at these criminals’ hilariously bad ideas, not at their victims and targets (pun intended, see below).

Without further ado, here are the 15 dumbest alleged Philly criminals in recent memory:

1. Guy who looked directly into a security camera

surveillance cameras
Philadelphia Police and Creative Commons

We’ll start off with the most recent. Note to criminals: If you’re going to commit a crime, it is probably advisable to not look directly into a security camera so that police can get a nice clear portrait of your face to distribute. To top it off, these geniuses didn’t even carry out what they were trying to do.

Here’s how it went down: Late on a Tuesday last week, four men armed with a shotgun approached a home in Mt. Airy and tried to break in. It started with one man knocking on the door, and inside, the person who lived in the home was checking their surveillance and determined he didn’t know the guy.

So he opened the door just a little bit to see who it was when a second guy came to the door with a shotgun. The man living in the home shut the door, two other guys joined, and they tried to gain entry several times. When they failed, they just… left. But not after leaving behind nice photos of their faces.

Police say they’ve already fielded a bunch of tips on this one and have made two arrests. They’re still searching for the two other men involved.

2. Couple who invited cops to house, AKA pot-growing palace

Edward Hatton

Edward Hatton

Screenshot from NBC10

It was in 2008 when a couple in Upper Darby called police to report a burglary — they must have forgotten what they had hiding in the home they welcomed police into. Cops found drugs, guns, knives and Nazi uniforms inside the home of Edward and Debra Hatton when they got there, including a “very sophisticated” pot-growing operation in the basement.

In addition, police found a fully-loaded AK-47 and a bunch of fake police uniforms that made the cops concerned the guy was trying to impersonate law enforcement personnel. According to NBC 10, when police said, “Why did you call police if you had all this stuff in your house?” Edward Hatton responded, “I didn’t call the police. My wife did.”

The Inquirer reported that both were charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

3. The great Instagram prankster

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 7.04.20 AM
NBC10

Ah, Instagram: The place for selfies, dog photos, food porn and casual armed robbery videos. Last year, 21-year-old Daron Stinson was arrested and charged with aggravated assault after he pulled “drive-by” pranks on people and then posted them on his Instagram. Basically the guy and his friends would point a fake, realistic-looking gun at people in North Philly, yell some things at them, pretend to fire it and drive away.

His father Rodney told NBC10 that he made his son turn himself into police, and said he was just seeking fame among his 10,000 Instagram followers.

4. The drug dealers who allegedly dealt in a police parking lot

Bruno Gallo and Joshua Ramirez

Bruno Gallo and Joshua Ramirez

Isn’t it one of the main goals of selling heroin to like, not get caught? And wouldn’t one minimize the chances of that by, say, being as far away from police as possible? Police said Bruno Gallo came all the way from Northeast Philly to Upper Darby to meet with a drug dealer in a police parking lot. In 2013, officials said the two pulled into a parking spot clearly marked “for police vehicles only,” made the transaction, and were promptly spotted by two cops inside.

According to the Delco Times, they were both subsequently arrested for drug dealing and possession.

5. The guy who stole Phillies rings after applying for a job

Phillies rings

Phillies rings

Note to self: It all goes downhill after you get kicked out of a Phillies game. In 2009, cops say 22-year-old Matthew Mervine, of New Jersey, was thrown out of Game 2 of the 2009 World Series for being with a group of people acting like idiots. He wanted to file a complaint against the Phillies and Citizens Bank Park, so the same day, he went to the Phillies’ front offices and while there, thought that it seemed like a great time to apply for a job.

So according to NBC, the guy, who called himself “the Rockie Killer,” filled out an entire job application to work for the Phillies. After doing so, he put down the creepy mask he’d been wearing in the stands — when he picked it back up, he grabbed a sealed yellow envelope that had three World Series rings in it.

The Rockie Killer walked out, got in his car and went home (except the entire thing was obviously caught on surveillance). He was arrested shortly after and cops recovered the rings. It’s unclear as to whether or not he got the job.

6. The South Philly vandals who posted YouTube videos of themselves committing crimes

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 7.27.11 AM
CBS Local

Ugh, can we not post photos of ruining people’s weeks on YouTube? A group of teenagers in Grays Ferry in 2012 not only went around smashing cars, spray painting them and slashing tires, but they recorded all of it and posted the incidents on YouTube along with their smiling faces. They soon turned themselves in, according to CBS 3.

Sadly, the videos are no longer available 🙁

7. The dude who stole lottery tickets; tried to cash them in at the SAME location

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 7.33.52 AM
Fox29

Police told the Delco Times in 2008 that 50-year-old Wayne Sealey stole six lottery tickets. They know this because two days after a store in Upper Darby realized the tickets had been stolen, Sealey returned to the same store and attempted to cash in on winnings. Cops found the other tickets in — surprise! — his pocket.

8. These (ham)burglars who tried to rob a BK, argued about buns and left

Burger King hamburglars.

Burger King hamburglars.

Philadelphia Police

Oh, what we would give to know what these two were fighting about. These two guys are seriously bad at robbery. Police in Oxford Circle said these two men rolled into a Burger King last year at 3 in the morning, jumped over the counter, messed with the cash register, argued over buns and then left the store with nothing in hand. Not even the buns!

9. The robbers who were almost the ones that got away…

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 7.46.34 AM

Chau Tron, Tran Phuong and Phuc Nguyen

Guys, you ALMOST did the thing. Three armed robbers held up a hair salon and went on what Philly.com described as “a robbery spree for several days.” One of those robberies was of Terry Steino, the wife of a noted Philly mobster. But! The guys were caught an hour after driving the wrong way on a one-way street.

10. The wasted bros who locked themselves in a police vehicle

Ryan Letchford

Ryan Letchford

As if this guy’s mugshot doesn’t just say it all, police said in 2011 that this twenty-something from Jersey broke into a constable’s van in Radnor one night when he was hammered. Police say Ryan Letchford, 21, and Jeffrey Olson, 22, broke into the van only to realize that — whoops! — you definitely can’t break back out of a constable’s van. So they apparently lit up some cigs and spit all over the floor to pass the time.

We particularly enjoyed this money quote from Radnor Constable Mike Connor: “It was un-freaking-believable.”

11. The suspect who went on a pot-smoking, poo-smearing spree inside the police station

Carlen Higgs

Carlen Higgs

Sometimes you just need to smoke a J, ya know. This guy did, at least. And he needed some other things, too. The Daily News reported last December that police said a guy in Upper Darby was “whacked out of his mind,” when he walked into the police station and lit up a joint INSIDE. In the holding cell — because of course he was arrested — dude apparently went on a spree that involved incoherent babbling and poo smearing.

12. The Swiss Cheese Pervert who sent messages to girls on OK Cupid

Chris Pagano, alleged swiss cheese lover

Chris Pagano, alleged swiss cheese lover

Look, we’re as sick of talking about the Swiss Cheese Pervert as the next person, but can we at least appreciate the sheer stupidity of this? Last January, police said this guy drove around Mayfair with swiss cheese all up in his junk and asked women to… do some gross things. Police told The Daily News they had a “sexual cheese” fetishizer on their hands. But how was this guy caught? A Bridesburg woman recognized him from OK-freaking-Cupid. She sent the Daily News the message he had sent her, in which admitted to his dairy sex obsession. Don’t worry, the guy was arrested. Twice.

13. Meek Mill, for tweeting about his probation officer

Meek
Twitter

Philly rapper Meek Mill may think he’s a boss, but duuuuude do not tweet mean things about your probation officer. Bad things will happen. Last year, Meek had his probation revoked mainly for leaving town booked concerts without getting court approval, but also posting “disparaging remarks” on Twitter about his probation officer AND the prosecutor on his case, who he called “racist.”

14. Everyone who ever tried to rob a place Mission: Impossible style

Can we all just stop trying to rob places Mission: Impossible style? It’s happened at least twice, and it went terribly both times. In December, two burglars tried to get into a Northeast Philly Target but got stuck hiding in the ventilation system they were climbing through. Daniel Bethea, 36, and Daniel McMillan Jr., 38, face charges of burglary, criminal conspiracy and trespassing.

In a similar incident, two guys in 2012 tried to burglarize a pharmacy in Germantown by trying to get through the roof and lower themselves into the store. But alas, one of the would-be burglars fell through the hole and on his ass. It is so worth watching the video.

15. The thief who tried to steal jewelry from a hotel, ‘cept it was fake jewelry

Marriott Philadelphia

Marriott Philadelphia

So close.

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